Crafts & Stuff

now browsing by category


Rollin In The Dough: Recipes for Homemade Fun

Homemade fun, DIY crafts with kids

Squishy, Sticky and Icky

If your kids are like ours, they love to help in the kitchen, especially when it involves getting their little hands squishy and sticky and dirty and icky.

Some of my favorite times with my girls involve our kitchen projects. I let them crack the eggs, measure the flour, stir the ingredients. We make cookies and cakes, we play with the Easy Bake Oven, and we have tea parties. And who cares if egg shells end up in the chocolate chip cookies. By the time they’ve licked the bowls and spoons, they are too full to eat the cookies anyway.


homemade play dough

homemade play dough

Another great kitchen project for kids is home made Kid Dough, play dough, homemade silly putty, edible clays and all sorts of other ooey, gooey, fun concoctions.

The recipes will require mom or dads help, but isn’t that what it’s all about?

You, them and a mess of grand proportions.


Puddles Are Cool

jump in puddles

Be a puddle jumper

Many years ago I saw a mom and her little girl out for a stroll in the park. It had just rained so there were all of these grand puddles along the sidewalk. The little girl, probably around 3 years old, ran with joy toward one of those puddles intent on stomping and jumping in the water with delight. But her mom stopped her in a panic for fear she would get her Sketchers dirty. The poor kid was devastated. I decided then that when I had kids of my own, I would let them, even encourage them, to jump in the puddles.

Skip to eight years later and here I am with three little puddle jumpers. They find puddles in the park, puddles in our driveway, and puddles on the playground. They even find skinny, half caf, no-whip puddles in the Starbucks parking lot. Of course, my mom-sense kicked in when I realized that some puddles are festering germ ponds. But when safe – my kids are free to run and jump in the puddles despite their Sketchers. And I feel the same way about our kitchen projects.

Kids need to make a mess. They are predisposed to disorder and chaos. Let them be kids.

It’s about the journey, not the pastry…….



No Fuss Play Dough

  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Food coloring

In a large bowl, mix together water, salt, oil and a few drops of food coloring. Mix flour and cornstarch and add 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly (you may need a little more or a little less than 2 cups flour so make sure you stir in until it is the right consistency). Knead for a few minutes with flour on your hands.


Play dough for Baking

(Great for making nearly unbreakable miniature ornaments and figures.)

Blend in a bowl:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup white glue
  • 1/4 cup ivory liquid SHAMPOO
  • food coloring

Knead the mixture together thorough. Make it thin because it expands when baked. Cut the dough with small cookie cutters. If you wish to hang the cutouts, poke a hole through the top. Bake on a cookie sheet for 2 hours at 200 degrees F. When cool, decorate with acrylic or tempera paint.


No Bake Craft Clay

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Food coloring

Mix together and add food coloring. Refrigerate for a few hours. Store in airtight container or ziplock bag.


Salt Dough

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil (optional)

This is the classic play dough mixture and is so easy. Just mix all the ingredients together and then knead the dough for at least 10 minutes. The kneading will make the dough glossy and smooth. It helps to put a little flour on your hands to keep them from sticking to the dough. This dough can be baked in a low (250 degree) oven and then painted. Spray with a varnish for added shine.


Oat Dough

  • 1 part flour
  • 1 part water
  • 2 parts oatmeal

Simply mix all ingredients with your hands.


Coffee Dough

  • One cup of flour (you can also use cornmeal if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • One cup of cooled, used coffee grounds (instant coffee will work too)
  • 1/2 cup of cold, leftover coffee
  • A little additional flour for the work surface

Dissolve the coffee in the warm water.

In another bowl, mix the flour and the salt.

Make a hole in this and add 1 cup of the coffee water into it.

Mix with a fork or hands until smooth.

Add more coffee water if needed: dough should be smooth and satiny, not sticky or crumbly.

Store in a plastic bag to prevent drying of the dough. Bake finished designs in a 300 degree oven for 1 hour or more (until hard). Add 2 coats of shellac to preserve. This one smells great but it’s not for eating! It dries to an antique, stone like finish. If your kids of milk protein alergies, use cornmeal instead of flour. And remember, this is a great opportunity to teach your kids about recycling!


No Bake Cornstarch Clay

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups salt or baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cups cold water
  • Food Coloring

This is a gooey clay that is great for sculpting. Bring the salt and 2/3 cup water to a boil. In a separate bowl mix the cornstarch with 2/3 cup water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the salt water and knead into a clay. This clay should be air dried and then painted. To prevent cracks when drying cove with a damp dish towel . Keep unused clay in the refrigerator in an airtight container.


Baker’s Clay

  •  4 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon powdered alum
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Food coloring

Mix all ingredients in bowl. If too dry work in extra water with hands. Bake on un-greased cookie sheet for 30 minutes in 250 degree oven. Turn and bake another 1 1/2 hours. Remove and cool. When done, sand lightly if desired and paint.


Bread Clay

  • 6 slices white bread
  • 6 tablespoons. white glue
  • 1/2 teaspoon dish washing detergent
  • Food coloring

Wondering what to do with that stale bread? Make bread clay! First you must remove the crusts. Put the crusts out for the birds to eat. Combine the bread and the glue until smooth and then add the detergent. Shape and let dry for 24 hours before painting.


Silly Putty

  • 1/2 Cup Elmer’s glue
  • 1/2 Cup Starch –
  • liquid Food coloring

Do NOT substitute any other glue for Elmer’s glue! Slowly add starch to glue and knead with fingers. The more you work with it the better it jells. Add food coloring if you want.


Rubbery Play dough

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup cornstarch

Mix with a fork until smooth. Boil over med. heat until thick. Spoon onto plate or wax paper.





Honey Peanut Butter Dough

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 cups powdered milk

This dough is naturally yummy! Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Knead until smooth with your clean hands. Form the dough into shapes and then eat them for a snack.


Colored Dough

  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or flavorings
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • food coloring (optional)

Mix first 4 ingredients together. Add powdered sugar. Knead it. Divide and add food coloring. Keep refrigerated to keep from spoiling when not in use. You can replace vanilla with flavored extracts to give flavor other than just plain sweetness.


Add a few drops of vanilla extract, lemon extract, almond extract or peppermint extract to may your play dough smell great. It also helps to preserve the dough and prevent mold.

Add glitter for sparkly play dough.

Provide tools for the children to use with the dough. Plastic cookie cutters come in countless shapes and are easy for small fingers to grip. Small rolling pins are important to have on hand; cylinder blocks work well too.

Muffin tins and small molds provide shaping and sorting possibilities. I also give the kids safety scissors and dull plastic knives for cutting. More mature children can be offered spray bottles to moisten drying clay

Try giving the kids objects that can also become part of sculptures. Tongue depressors, craft sticks, toothpicks, and large wiggle eyes are great additions. Beads and buttons are fun. Pipe cleaners, cut in half, make cute antennae and legs


Just think of all the great lessons to be learned!

Let them read the recipe, follow the directions, estimate the time. Measuring and mixing = math and science! Working with dough will also help to develop the fine motor skills of your preschooler. Allowing your kids to shape and mold will inspire their creativity skills. Plus, the opportunity to teach your kids about kitchen sanitation, safety, proper food handling, and how everyone has to clean up – even when it really, totally sucks to clean up.

Make Your Own Finger Paint & Flubber





you could buy it already made.

But, what fun would that be?








Kool-Aid Finger Paint

  •  2 cups flour
  • 2 packs un sweented kool-aid
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 3T. oil

Mix wet into dry.

The kids love the color change. Then finger paint away.



Jello Finger Paint

  • any kind of flavored jello
  • enough boiling water to make it
  • a goo consistency for finger paint.

Use you normal finger painting material or glossy paper. Kids love the smell and the feel of it.




  • Bowl 1: 1 1/2 C. Warm Water, 2 cups of Elmers Glue and Food Coloring
  • Bowl 2: 4tsp of Borax and about 1 1/3 cup of warm water

Mix ingredients in Bowl 1. Mix ingredients in Bowl 2. Then, pour contents of Bowl 1 into Bowl 2. Do not mix or stir.

This makes a cool (but safe!) chemical reaction that the kids will love. I used a glass bowl for solution B so the kids could see the flubber form in the bowl. It just becomes a big “cloud” of rubbery stuff. Store in baggies. If you half the recipe, you only need to half the solution A and it will work the same.


Indoor Sandcastle

  • 2 cups clean, fine sand
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup water

Bring the beach inside — even in the winter! The cornstarch in this recipe holds the sand together. Mix all three ingredients over a low heat (200). Remove when the mixture firms.


Hint — A solid base is the key to making awesome sand sculptures. If you are very ambitious, use a large plastic garbage can with the end cut out. Pack the sand down firm and use a lot of water. Let set for a few minutes and lift up. Now you can use various utensils to carve out your creation.